I had a rough day yesterday. I let myself go to a dark place and the resulting big ass pity party wasn't pretty.
The trigger is always something trivial or on the surface silly. In this case, a distant semi-relative posted about their engagement on that awful so-called social media site, Facebook. I threw in my congrats because that's what you do. Of course the little green jealousy monster started whispering in my ear. Everything is so perfect for them…health, youth, love of family and friends…why them?
Erma Bombeck warned us about the color of the grass and what it is probably hiding.
What if I had announced my engagement? Would my so-called social media family and friends enthusiastically like my announcement and share congratulations? I'm sure they would if my betrothed was a woman. But if my soon to be better half was a man? ….
I can hear the crickets already.
That's when it hit me. I have so much emotional baggage that I'm carting around, the odds of me finding anyone willing to love me despite all the emotional crap, the odds are very, very low.
And then so was I.
Why? Good question. I'm relatively intelligent, well read, good company at times, funny on occasion…but I'm also damaged goods. I've got a lifetime of emotional deadweight that I've been and still am carrying around. All the negativity of the past, all the hiding who I am and all the lying. All the wishing things were different, the lifetime of isolation and desperation.
Am I alone? No, not in that sense, but peers are few and far between. And that's no ones fault but mine. I've been trained through repeated Pavlovian conditioning that I'm better off alone, hidden and quiet. People can't hurt me if I never let them near. But that's not what I want.
What I really want, what I really need to dump all the crappy deadweight is hope.
The hope is there. I see nuggets of good in people everyday. I've got one or two friends that I trust and who provide a positive influence in my otherwise gloomy life. People often surprise me, and I should trust that more.
But there is a lot of negativity in the world. Heck, look at North Carolina. The preachers wife on the radio this morning was so proud of the wedding cake she baked to celebrate the state's anti-equality amendment. To her it's a party.
So what else gives me hope? I'll tell you. Standing here, metaphorically, and saying once and for all, I'm gay. Yep, I'm a gay man. Duh, right? Perhaps, but not openly stating the fact has been bugging me. I've come out to a couple of people over the years, but not many. Am I worried about loosing my job? Not really. And if I do because I'm gay?!? Then I would be much better off. Am I worried about losing friends? Nope. The folks I call friends already know.
So why now? Why this statement? Shouldn't I do what that preachers wife in North Carolina wants me to do and stay hidden and in the closet?
No. Sorry if that goes against your beliefs, dear reader, or rubs you the wrong way, but there's no hope in that closet for me. What I need to work on now is me. I need to drop the deadweight emotional baggage I've been carting around all my life. I need to live in the present and not the past. I need to enjoy the wonderful life I have and the people around me that make my life wonderful. I need to thank them and appreciate the treasure that these people are.
Congrats young couple on your engagement. I mean that sincerely.
Goodbye old baggage. I'm done with you.